In 2019 I made a New Years resolution that very promptly got edited. It just wasn’t feasible with the resources and timing that I had available. I was looking to visit every one of Colorado’s federally designated Wilderness Areas. My season was a little less than 8 months of the year, so I averaged about one per month. Some wilderness trips were either deferred or weather didn’t work out. Several of the more ambitious trips I just wasn’t ready for. Adding in the fact that our first child was born, it was a whirlwind of calendar analysis and “Can I possibly get this trip done?”
Areas I visited, and felt I did justice, this past year include:
- Buffalo Peaks Wilderness
- James Peak Wilderness
- Indian Peaks Wilderness
- Sarvis Creek Wilderness
- Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness
- Byers Peak Wilderness
- Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
- Mount Massive Wilderness
Maybe Next Time
I’ve deferred some of my adventures until I can put a marker down on the calendar or recruit some friends. Those trips include some of the more interesting areas but could be potentially very ambitious. Hiking, climbing, and camping are likely in those areas.
- Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness
- Gunnison Gorge Wilderness
- Great Sand Dunes Wilderness
I deferred them because they’re potentially dangerous to go alone, but I’ve been in the area of all three. I’m not counting them towards my tally, despite spending a better part of the day near the sand dunes. I’d much rather go off-roading and then hike the wilderness area that isn’t just the beach that everyone plays at.
My lovely wife bought me some aggressive Grivel crampons this year and I recently found out that Buckley Air Force Base Outdoor Recreation Center has awesome MSR snowshoes for $6 a pair to rent. Naturally that means I’m going to expand my horizons and try some winter sports this year beyond the slip-n-slide hiking we’d been doing. I still need to acquire a pair of microspikes (if anyone has recommendations I’m all ears).
The realization came last season that winter in the high country is long, and with last year having a fairly intense snowpack trails weren’t clear until the end of June. Winter weather in some places kicked up in September making the “season” real short. I’ve upgraded my kit a little bit since. I plan on continuing my quest to go after every Wilderness Area, reviewing new gear, and posting here and my social media.
I’m interested in visiting some heavy hitters this year, so the word is out to my friends and adventurers that I want to do Maroon Bells, Hunter Fryingpan, Neversummer, and Eagles Nest. Maroon Bells is one of the most photographed areas in the United States and I fully intend on doing it justice. My intent is that if the weather is good, the fly rod will be in the pack regardless of Wilderness area. It doesn’t weigh much and gives fantastic entertainment value.
For hunting season I’ll likely return to Sarvis Creek Wilderness for a do-over. We just didn’t do it justice that it deserved, there’s just so much goodness to be had there. We’re still considering a wall tent to make creature comforts just a little better. Second season elk/mule deer is a crapshoot for weather, and we lost in 2019.
I took the liberty of putting together a gallery of some of my favorite shots from this season’s excursions. 2019 was great, and 2020 will likely be just as awesome in the woods and on the water!
|Why am I doing this? I’m on a quest to hike, camp, hunt, or fish on all of Colorado’s federally designated Wilderness Areas. Check out all the articles here!|